We caught up with Belgian artist Matthew Dawn as he participates to the Crystal Ship Festival in Ostend, Belgium and discussed about his background and projects.
B: Can you tell us more about your background?
MD: I have a bachelors degree in “Digital Arts and Entertainment” – 3D art, game-coding and game design in lament terms. So nothing really street-art or fine-art related. Growing up, art and creativity in general has always been a big part of my everyday activities. I enjoyed sketching as a kid and teenager and love toying around with several instruments like bass, guitar and piano. Throw in some computer skills and know-how of video or photo-editing software and you have the base of my skill sets.
B: You have also worked on commercial projects with big companies such as Nike and Citroen? What learnings did you get from that experience?
MD: Commercial projects are good for putting money in the bank, not so good for expressing your artistic intent. A major insight I gained from those and several other experiences is how much my perception of money differs from theirs, I might find €1000 to be a lot of money whereas they barely shrug at spending €100.000. It taught me that it’s a matter of perspective and I can use that to my advantage.
B: What influenced you to start painting murals?
MD: It wasn’t really a choice, more something I rolled into naturally. I was already heavily into fine art and street art before I even picked up a spray can at the age of 21. I became friends with a couple of bombers and they took me with them because they’d seen my sketches. It was like “Hey you can draw, you should come with us. -Oh, okay. Sure.”
All that paranoia and stress wasn’t for me so I stepped out of the shadows and when to the legal walls in my area. I wanted to do full pieces and detail them at my own pace and really put the work in. From there on out it just grew, people approached me in the street, offered me some jobs that payed well at the time and it just got bigger and better from there on out.
B: What do you like/enjoy about painting in public spaces?
MD: It’s outdoors, gets me out of my studio. People come up to you, admire the work, compliment you. If you’re lucky they bring you warm drinks and cookies, all good vibes 🙂
B: What / who are your sources of inspirations or favourite artists?
MD: I look at pinterest a lot, I have big collections on there and it comes from everywhere, blogs, reddit,… but to name one or more artists that stick out,… man. I can’t there’s so many elements that I love of so many artists. I love Jeremy Man’s work ethic and dedication to the craft, I love Shawn Barber’s style, Rene Margritte’s work, James jean’s colors,…
B: Can you tell us more about your creative process?
MD: I start which ever way is fastest, doesn’t really matter to me how. Usually it’s some rough sketches in a slutty sketchbook that loves to get abused. From there I take it digitally, edit the sketches in photoshop or find photo’s online that match my ideas and create a collage out of them or go outside and take my own photo’s with myself or someone else as model.
Most of my personal work is built from live-drawing or photo reference.
B:Is there a specific message you want to convey in your artworks?
MD: I’m currently exploring the concepts of ego, ignorance, censorship, fame and success in my works and am loving the journey so far. I can have a specific meaning behind every piece but when I ask other for their views they always come up with things I have never seen before myself or thought of so I don’t want to force my own view and just let the work do the explaining and let the people make up their own thoughts.
B: What are you creating for the Crystal Ship? Tell us more?
MD: I’m creating the third in my paper crown series which started after my promotional video of the TINYPINK went viral with +- 2M views.
B: What are your next projects as well?
MD: I’m planning a solo-show in the fall.